Followup notes on XO alternate desktops

Some followup notes from our alternate Linux desktop on XO work:

  • The README included with the script provides some more specific instructions.
  • Your SD card needs to be a minimum of 4GB capacity, because these distributions install more than 2GB by default. We could probably find some smaller distributions, although we require some relatively recent components for some part of the system (e.g. X), so finding a distribution that is both modern and small might be a challenge.
  • There are ongoing efforts to create a significantly smaller distro to run on the internal flash, but that is an early project at the moment.
  • We heavily recommend using a SD card that is advertised as fast, extreme, ultimate, or whatever! I was previously sceptical of cards advertised in this way – are they actually significantly faster? The answer is YES – we have a ‘non-extreme’ Kingston card and it is so much slower than the others. Installation took 4 times as long. I’m not sure a good way of benchmarking these, the standard “hdparm -t” test showed similar figures on both slow and fast cards.
  • I’ve spent most of my time with Fedora. On the whole, it works very well for a machine that is understandably lower spec than most. I do recommend slimming down the services though – turn off all the NFS daemons, cups, bluetooth daemon, pcscd, kerneloops, … In fedora this is done with the ‘service’ command for a one-time stop, and ‘chkconfig’ to prevent things starting at boot.
  • When you run a lot of big applications, the machine does really slow down. Sometimes the mouse cursor freezes for a while. Perhaps we should experiment with swap space, currently I have none.
  • Sound does not work. In Fedora, it doesn’t work at all, probably a PulseAudio bug. I’m hoping that applying the system updates will fix this, but the Fedora infrastructure is down at the moment. In Ubuntu, sound works at the login screen (you hear the welcome sound) but not after you login.
  • On the postive side: wireless works, suspend works (most of the time), mouse and keyboard are good, gnome-power-manager dims the screen when idle, etc. It really acts as a normal fully usable distro with a few quirks identified above.

6 Responses to “Followup notes on XO alternate desktops”

  1. dsd’s weblog » Blog Archive » Regular Linux desktops on the XO Says:

    [...] weblog they got a skin and they put me in « Fedora/RPM packaging Followup notes on XO alternate desktops [...]

  2. Tom Hoffman Says:

    At the risk of sounding super-picky, what I’m waiting for is a XO distro that has the GTK, etc. defaults set to work with the quirks of the XO display and mouse. Specifically, making all the widgets bigger to compensate for the unusually high screen resolution.

    Either that, or a nice HOWTO.

    Also, it is perfectly possible that either or both of these exist but I don’t know about it.

  3. chuck Says:

    Has anyone tried to use the eeepc Xandros linux on the xo yet.

  4. micaela Says:

    hola soy micaela

  5. Val Says:

    Hello. This is great, excellent work. I followed the steps for fedora 9 with a new XO I got from the new GiveOne, GetOne program, updated to the latest firmware and build. Everything works but the wireless. /dev/eth0 is not being created. Do the new laptop come with different NIC cards or am I missing something. Thanks.

  6. Val Says:

    Never my my previous comment. Wireless works fine with your procedure. The original install (to a regular PC) needs some of the ixxx-firmware packages (under hardware support) which I did not include at first. Thanks again. I am enjoying Fedora 9 on the XO!

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